Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested the creation of a BRICS space consortium, hours before a spacecraft from the South Asian nation landed near the moon’s south pole.
(Bloomberg) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested the creation of a BRICS space consortium, hours before a spacecraft from the South Asian nation landed near the moon’s south pole.
Modi was speaking at the plenary session of the BRICS bloc — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — in Johannesburg on Wednesday. India became the first country to land a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole after Russia’s attempt at a lunar touch down in the same area ended in failure following an engine malfunction.
“We congratulate you,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said after Modi’s speech. “This for the BRICS family is a momentous moment.”
The successful touch down lifts India’s prestige in the global space race, after the country suffered a setback from a failed moon mission in 2019.
Modi wants to bolster the country’s place among the world’s space-faring nations and in June India signed the Artemis Accords, a US-backed initiative with more than two dozen other countries to govern joint missions and civilian space exploration.
Chandrayaan-3 — spacecraft that launched last month — achieved a soft landing at 6:04 p.m. India time on Wednesday, after Russia’s Luna-25 crashed into the moon on Sunday.
A rover, named Pragyan, or wisdom, will then analyze the chemical makeup of the moon’s surface and search for water over the course of one lunar day, which is equivalent to 14 days on Earth.
The BRICS bloc already cooperate in sharing remote sensing data. Under a 2021 agreement, the five nations agreed to use their existing satellites to “create a virtual constellation,” while last year the group set up the BRICS Joint Committee on Space Cooperation.
During his speech, Modi also suggested the creation of a repository of traditional medicines.
(Updates to add detail on previous space cooperation in sixth paragraph.)
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.